Julián Castro, Reproductive Justice Advocate, Drops Out of 2020 Race: Campaign Week in Review (Updated)

After incorporating reproductive rights and justice into his plan to reform the U.S. criminal justice system, Julián Castro said Thursday that he would suspend his presidential campaign.

[Photo: Presidential candidate Julián Castro looks on during an event.]
“Today it’s with a heavy heart, and profound gratitude, that I will suspend my campaign for president,” said Julián Castro, the only Latino candidate in the Democratic primary contest. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

UPDATE, January 6, 2020, 1:35 p.m.: Julián Castro on Monday endorsed U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) run for the presidency after ending his own bid.

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Julián Castro, the Lone Latino in the Democratic Primary, Ends His Presidential Run 

Julián Castro, whose 2020 presidential campaign included the decriminalization of immigration and reproductive health justice for women and trans people, ended his White House bid on Thursday.

Castro, former head of U.S. Housing and Urban Development under the Obama administration and San Antonio mayor, said in a statement that he would suspend his run as Democratic candidates gear up for the Iowa primary. “Today it’s with a heavy heart, and profound gratitude, that I will suspend my campaign for president,” said Castro, the only Latino candidate in the Democratic primary contest. 

“I’m not done fighting,” Castro continued. “I’ll keep working towards a nation where everyone counts, a nation where everyone can get a good job, good health care and a decent place to live.”

Castro said he strived to put “people first” in his run for the presidency, thanking campaign supporters and volunteers in his statement. In November, Castro received a massive influx in campaign contributions when he considered dropping out of the race ahead of that month’s primary debate.

Castro incorporated reproductive justice into his plan to overhaul the country’s criminal justice system, pledging to “pass legislation requiring free access to reproductive health care,” including menstrual products, for incarcerated people. Castro’s campaign platform included guaranteed access to “gender-confirmation surgery for incarcerated trans people” and an end to shackling pregnant people who are incarcerated. 

During a June Democratic debate, Castro voiced his support for unfettered abortion care access, including for people with low incomes.

He often led on immigration issues during the debates, becoming the first candidate to call for the repeal of Section 1325, a policy the Trump administration has used to split up immigrant families at the border. Getting rid of Section 1325 would make border crossings a civil offense instead of a criminal one.

There are now 14 candidates vying for the Democratic nomination.

Bernie Sanders Has More Campaign Donations Than Anyone, Including President Trump 

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) led all Democratic presidential candidates in fourth-quarter campaign contributions, bringing in $34.5 million from 1.8 million people in the quarter that ended December 31, CBS reported. The Sanders campaign now has more than 5 million campaign contributions, more than any Democratic candidate and President Trump.

According to CBS, “the most common job held by Sanders donors in the fourth quarter was teaching, but the most common employers were Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, the U.S. Postal Service, and Target.” The average contribution to the Sanders campaign was $18.53 in the fourth quarter. 

Meanwhile, Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign saw a dip in fundraising during the fourth quarter. Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg had a fourth-quarter haul of nearly $25 million. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who still leads polling of the primary race by wide margins, raised $22.7 million in the fourth quarter.

What Else We’re Reading

Biden released the list of his campaign’s “bundlers” on the Friday after Christmas, Politico reported. The list includes more than 200 people and couples who have brought in at least $25,000 to his campaign. Wealthy people from Silicon Valley and Wall Street appear on Biden’s list of bundlers, along with congressional lawmakers like Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE). At the end of the third quarter of 2019, more than 64 percent of donors to the Biden campaign had come from people giving more than $200, according to FiveThirtyEight. That’s a much greater percentage of “large donors” than the campaigns for Warren and Sanders had.

Biden, who worries that Republicans could suffer even greater electoral losses in 2020, said this week he’d be open to a Republican serving as his vice president should he win the Democratic presidential nomination, according to the Washington Post.

Former congressman John Delaney, who has been running in the Democratic presidential primary since 2017, said the Democratic Party should hold secondary debates for candidates polling much lower than the primary’s top contenders, GEN reported. Delaney has yet to eclipse 1 percent in national polling.